BY AMANDA AND JUSTIN BENJAMIN
When trying to define art, one might imagine a painting, sculpture, or something less tangible such as poetry and theatre. At first glance, most view art and judge its value based on its appeal to the human senses; however, when we look beyond the aesthetics, we are able to see it evolve, identify with it, and the art somehow becomes a part of us. Author Leo Tolstoy reminds us in his book “What Is Art?” that art is not something we can casually experience, but that art itself is a part of our identity. He wrote:
“In order correctly to define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life.”
When I read this quote, I am often reminded how art is a form of worship. Artists are inspired, moved, and called to create something larger than themselves, to convey a message for others to interpret. It is this power that art holds, creating a ripple effect for change.
Last year, my husband Justin and I were able to attend the first ever 1.5 day (trans)formation conference. We both came out feeling refreshed, alive, and inspired. The conference felt more like a collaborative engagement with everyone there rather than a sit back and listen style event. It was great to see the diversity in topics that were brought to the table. Here are some of my husband’s thoughts:
“Being a musician I (Justin) sometimes tend to only think about worship as being confined within the space of music. My image of worship was challenged, as the conference reflected worship with not only music but also the in the form of movies, authors, theatre, culture, painting and beauty. Visual artist Trung Pham talked about moments of what he called “extreme beauty.” He challenged our perception to see beauty in brokenness beyond superficiality or what only lies on the surface. Pham sees beauty in the sacrifice of protection, disruption in our lives and even cracks in the walls. Through the lens of extreme beauty God can be seen in difficult and dark moments.”
This conference answers many questions that might arise when we think about what art and worship are and what it means to bring them together. (trans)formation is a wonderful resource that continues to cultivate a new vision for the arts and worship in the greater Seattle community. We hope you will join us for this years’ conference and have the chance to experience something amazing.